Five truly horrendous TV shows based upon videogames

Pole Position

Characters weren’t exactly the strong suit of games in the golden age of the arcade. For a time, Pac-Man, Frogger, and Donkey Kong were the most recognizable videogame characters around. With this shortage of actual human beings, television show creators basically took the name of a game and slapped it on whatever cartoon they created. Enter Pole Position.

Pole Position, the game about simply driving a race car, became Pole Position, the cartoon about a secret crime fighting force with a talking transformable car, anthropomorphic animal buddies, and the most awesomely bad theme song ever. Clearly, the license is integral to the onscreen product.

Pole Position was abysmal. It featured nearly every single 80’s cartoon cliche imaginable. From super computers to the crime fighting team’s monkey/cat sidekick Kuma, Pole Position encapsulated everything that sucked about cartoons in the early 80’s. If you can stomach it, you can even watch most of the series itself at

The show was produced by Dic entertainment. Actually, the company created a number of popular 1980’s cartoons, but is perhaps best remembered for making a generation of ten-year-old boys giggle with their post-show title card and its accompanying soundbyte of a young girl saying “Dic.”


In the mid-1990's USA (the cable network, not the country) decided to challenge network domination of Saturday morning cartoons, and the network’s existing block of Hanna-Barbara and Ninja Turtles reruns weren’t cutting it. At the time, video games were making their first strides into popular culture since the early 1980's. With that in mind, the network did the sensible thing: they took a game starring a succubus—a lusty “female” demon who seduces and kills men in their sleep—and turned it into a cartoon. Succubi and the occult were just the kind of family-friendly fare that was lacking in the hedonistic world of 90’s Saturday morning television.

Darkstalkers was preceded by the Street Fighter cartoon, a terrible abomination that would have made our list if Darkstalkers hadn’t knocked it off.

Above: The cast of the Street Fighter cartoon is happy because we found a show that was actually dumber than theirs

Darkstalkers the cartoon takes the characters that fighting gamers know and love and throws them out the window. In their place, USA inserted the most idiotic band of video game character doppelgangers that you could imagine. The comedy character Sasquatch became “Bigfoot,” and lived in a village with others of his kind capable of vomiting snow at will to protect themselves 

The occult loving rock star and all-around bad dude, Lord Raptor, became an idiotic rapping rip-off in the vein of Ninja Turtle Michelangelo- only his appearance and faux Australian accent remained.

USA toned down the sexual nature of the aforementioned Succubus, Morrigan Aensland, and gave her a look more appropriate for the wicked witch of the west then a sexy, soul-sucking, battle-loving demon. Better for kids? Maybe, maybe not. But definitely defiantly different from the source material.

Above: (Left) Old and creepy cartoon Morrigan, (right) Sexy Morrigan

The show capped it all off with addition of a character the show’s kiddie audience could “relate to”: Harry Grimore, a whiny, bespectacled, nerdy young boy. The decision probably came about when some brilliant employee at USA thought to himself, “You know, I’m not sure that our target audience is going to relate to our cast of soul-sucking sex demons and snow-vomiting Sasquatches.”

Thankfully, USA quickly saw the error of its ways and cancelled the show after one season … in favor of another awful fighting game cartoon. Which brings us to…


  • habs - December 22, 2010 12:53 a.m.

    i dont agree with the maniac mansion review. the actors wernt reject canadian talent.all if not most of that group had long careers after this show. as well taking jokes 20 years out of context doesnt lead to funny does it? i can name quite a few lame arcade to tv shows that didnt make the list.ones i consider alot worse than maniac mansion. im sure the only reason that maniac mansion was included was that it wasnt mainstream.was on cable and canadian. why wasnt heman and the masters of the universe included or super mario or teenage mutant ninja turtles? so you didnt get the canadian humor eh?then gtfo and go watch some guy talking to a puppet.
  • gidget - October 20, 2010 1:18 a.m.

    Hahaha..Dic.... lord knows i thought that was some funny shit as a kid.... and pole position,.... no amount of alcohol will was that song from my brain.Especially after downloading it here: and listening to it continuously. what the shit was i thinking??
  • 2cute2Bcruel - September 22, 2010 9:41 a.m.

    Somehow, I own a copy of an animated prequel to the first (only watchable) Mortal Kombat movie. I never saw MK: DotR, but if it was anything like that... wow. It had badly integrated and repetitive digital animation, interspersed with CGI that reminds me of Drake of the 99 Dragons. It's kind of so-bad-it's good, and it did have some professional voice talent on its cast
  • Mysticgamer - August 2, 2010 5:44 p.m.

    Just thank God that awful Bubsy cartoon never got the green light. The pilot makes Street fight look like a masterpiece.
  • Hadokenchild - July 15, 2010 6:43 p.m.

    I was expecting Q-Bert, Captain N, and The Super Mario Bros. Super Show to be on there as well. But yeah, everything on this list is God-awful.
  • MassSaber - July 11, 2010 1:57 a.m.

    I dunno about the rest you I loved Pole position as a kid it was way before I discovered video games (or tranformers a way better series) and I still find myself humming to this day
  • Skullkan6 - July 10, 2010 3:53 p.m.

  • presc1ence - July 10, 2010 11:31 a.m.

    ummm so not crass enough to say the pac man nickname, but perfectly happy to say it when ever we mention a certain patrick in GTA? Odd standards there! lol!
  • grumpyDinosaur - July 10, 2010 3:14 a.m.

    Ahhh memories, I remember watching episodes of all of those, on another note this also made me remember I used to pretend to be Captain N. D:
  • TyeTheCzar - July 10, 2010 12:32 a.m.

    Looks like you've forgotten: The Adventures of Sonic The Hedgehog Sonic Underground Super Mario Bros. Super Show Legend of Zelda Captain N: The Game Master *shudders* The only excuse these shows have to exist is for [ab]use in Youtube Poop, which makes them a hundred times better.
  • Metroidhunter32 - July 10, 2010 12:11 a.m.

    Epitome of fail.
  • soccerclownking - July 9, 2010 8:30 p.m.

    All i can say is, you know, I truly can't think of a word to describe such atrocities
  • Xplosive59 - July 9, 2010 8:03 p.m.

    its nice to see not very obvious ones cause i was kinda expecting to see the legend of zelda cartoon, mario, sonic, captain N and megaman but i was plesantly suprised
  • D0CCON - July 9, 2010 6:44 p.m.

    As soon as I saw this, I thought Legend of Zelda. Am I alone here?
  • isaacbaade - July 9, 2010 6:40 p.m.

    i think pokemon gets boring after a while
  • KnightDehumidifier - July 9, 2010 3:22 p.m.

    Four words: Battletoads: The Animated Series.
  • ACE-VAMP - July 9, 2010 2:48 p.m.

    i remember that pac-man cartoon and pac-mans nik name lol still find it funny it was put in a cartoon lol never knew pole position was based on a game, great cartoon. as for horrendous TV shows based upon videogames how could u forget all the bad mario ones.
  • Conman93 - July 9, 2010 12:49 p.m.

    Like many people here I think zelda should be on this list. Still these are pretty damn deplorable! On another note, doesen't japan have a kirby show. Is that meant to be crap?
  • pin316 - July 9, 2010 10:54 a.m.

    oh god, pole position, whatever were they thinking... I bought a disc with all 13 episodes of 'Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light' (now that was a show - can't believe it got canned after only 13 eps), and it had a bonus disc with the intros to a load of awesome 80s/90s cartoons. The Centurions, Defenders of the Earth, Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors (best. cartoon. ever.), Ulysses 31 etc, and it had the nerve to include the Pole Position intro...putting it right next to the others showed it up for the awfulness that it was.
  • philipshaw - July 9, 2010 9:37 a.m.

    What about the awful Bubsy show,it seem to go on longer than necessary

Showing 1-20 of 46 comments

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